Ohio State rode two goals scored 1:04 apart in the second to victory as UMD could only muster one to answer in the third. Minnesota and Wisconsin traded goals one at a time early before the Gophers went ahead on the power play in the third period. They’d add an empty-netter later to seal the deal.
#1 Ohio State vs. #2 Minnesota
Saturday, March 4th – 3 PM ET
Once again Ohio State enters a game on shaky footing, this time because they lost the season series instead of simply not winning more emphatically.
They first met in the WCHA tournament way back in 2001. Ohio State actually won that first matchup 4-0 as a 4th seed playing a 1st seed. Since then Minnesota advanced over Ohio State 8 straight times with two of those coming as quarterfinal series wins.
The last two have gone in favor of Ohio State, the 2020 semifinals where they won 4-3, and last year’s Championship where they won 3-2, both in overtime.
What makes them tick
Ohio State is going to have the puck. The Buckeyes were the best possession team both straight up and factoring in their competition. Their 42 shots per game were the most in the NCAA.
Minnesota had similar goals, but were a bit behind at 4th in possession straight up and 7th when factoring in their competition. They got a bit more out of the skill positions at both ends though with a .922 save percentage to Ohio State’s .912 and a 11.3% shooting percentage, beating Ohio state by a percent.
Ohio State – Start faster. Minnesota scored the first goal in every game, even the one Ohio State won 5-1. In three of them it was less than 10 minutes in, and also in three of them Ohio State didn’t muster a goal of their own in the first 10 minutes.
Minnesota – Win below the top line. The main reason Minnesota had 2 wins and a tie is because their secondary scorers largely outplayed Ohio State’s. UM’s second and below lines had 6 goals and 12 assists, exactly double Ohio State’s while their top scorers largely canceled each other out (5g, 6a for Maltais, Gardiner, and Jaques for Ohio State, and 6g, 8a for Zumwinkle, Heise, and Murphy).
Then in their 5-1 win, Ohio State didn’t get a single goal from their top three with all five coming off the top line and three assists as well.
Ohio State 1-0